American History

Explore the development of the United States with this collection of articles about American history. Topics in this section include the American Revolution, the gold rush and the expansion of the West.

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Bacon's Rebellion: America's First Armed Insurrection

Nathaniel Bacon led an armed rebellion in 17th century Colonial America against Gov. William Berkeley. The rebellion was brief but its ramifications changed the course of American history.

Why the Stamp Act Was Reviled in the American Colonies

The British imposition of the Stamp Act in 1765 drew street demonstrations against the new law in the American colonies, resulting in its eventual repeal.

The Mexican-American War Is the Bloodiest Foreign War the U.S. Has Fought

This war fought between the U.S. and its neighbor to the south is one of the bloodiest in America's history. So why is it so often forgotten?

Tecumseh: The Driving Force Behind the Native American Confederacy

Some consider Shawnee leader Tecumseh to be one of the most remarkable Native Americans in history. He stood not just for the Shawnee. He stood for all Native Americans.

Free Land: How the Homestead Act Helped America Expand Westward

President Abraham Lincoln signed into law that any person in the U.S. could have free land — 160 acres in fact. But there was a catch.

Sundown Towns: 'Hiding' Racism Right in the Open

These towns, with all-white populations, may not be as blatant about their racism as they once were. But they're still here and being forced to face their ugly truth.

Capitalize This! The State Capitals Quiz

Every state has a capital city, which houses the government where all the legislative action happens. How much do you know about these capitals? Take our quiz to find out!

How the Truman Doctrine Changed American Foreign Policy Forever

The Truman Doctrine was an American foreign policy created to counter Soviet geopolitical expansion. But some consider it as the official beginning of the Cold War.

5 Events in Black History You Never Learned in School

Despite having a designated month for Black history, most students in the U.S. aren't taught about some of the most important people and events in Black history. Here are five that you probably never learned in school.

How the Cowboy Saddled Up and Rode Into American History

Many might think of cowboys as quintessentially part of the American fabric. And they are. But cowboys aren't an American phenomenon and they certainly didn't get their start in the U.S.

Beer Ads and Wild West Shows Hyped the Myth of Custer's Heroic 'Last Stand'

The Battle of Little Bighorn, where Gen. George Custer took his 'last stand' was no tale of bravery or military strategy. But beer ads and wild west shows transformed it into a mythical story of 'good' versus 'evil.'

How the White House Rose Garden Became the Most Famous Garden in the World

The White House Rose Garden has been the scene of many history-making events, but the story of its creation is a fascinating tale in itself.

Harpers Ferry Has a Complex and Dizzying History

Harpers Ferry is known as the spot where John Brown launched his disastrous slave rebellion. But why was this town also a transportation and ammunitions powerhouse?

What Fueled the Famous Feud Between the Hatfields and McCoys?

The Hatfield and McCoy family names are recognized for one thing: fighting for decades between them. But what were they so angry about and why so many years of feuding?

Why Annie Oakley Was America's Sharpshooting Sweetheart

Annie Oakley got her gun and used it to become the leading lady of the American West. She could outshoot and outride most male cowboys of her time. And she did it all while in a Victorian dress.

The 'Petticoat Rulers' Ran a Wyoming Frontier Town in the 1920s

In 1920, a group of women established an all-female government in the town of Jackson, Wyoming. And it ran like a top.

The Racial History of the Term 'Grandfathered In'

While it often evokes the image of a gray-haired, old gentleman let off the hook because of his age, the intention behind the term "grandfathered" came from origins far more sinister.

19th-century Time Capsule Discovered Beneath Confederate Memorial

Conservators from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources opened the 126-year-old time capsule July 2, 2020 and are preserving what they can.

Black Men Were Cowboys Before It Was Cool

In the early 18th century, Black cowboys were the only cowboys in the West. That's because white men didn't want to do the work. So why hasn't their story been told?

Why Is There a Crack in the Liberty Bell?

Older than the founding of the United States, the Liberty Bell has endured as a symbol of freedom for many Americans, even though that was not its original role. It wasn't even called the Liberty Bell for some 80 years after its creation.

A Monumental Tribute to Crazy Horse Has Been Taking Shape for Decades

More than 70 years ago, Oglala Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear dedicated Thunderhead Mountain as the site of the Crazy Horse Memorial. The monument to honor North American Indians is still under construction.

How Buffalo Bill Became a Living, Breathing Personification of the American West

William "Buffalo Bill" Cody was an American soldier, bison hunter and frontiersman. But he's perhaps best-known for being a showman and running Buffalo Bill's Wild West show.

Why Isn't Washington, D.C. Already a State?

The residents of the U.S. capital pay taxes, serve in the armed forces and contribute to the economic strength of the U.S. but have no voting representation in Congress.

The Wild Wild West Quiz

The Wild West is the stuff of legends, lore and awesome John Wayne movies. How much do you know about the days of saloons and standoffs?

Slavery Under Another Name: What Were the Black Codes?

The Emancipation Proclamation may have signified the formal end of slavery. But almost immediately afterward, Southern states enacted Black Codes that effectively re-enslaved thousands of newly freed Black people.